What does it mean to present work? More specifically, what is it like for Japanese artists to present their work here in the U.S.? I ask on the occasion of post-performance reflections, having just seen Saburo Teshigawara’s Miroku. But I also ask due to another upcoming occasion; August 2010 will mark 65 years since the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and this anniversary is a notable reminder amongst U.S.-initiated discussion over a nuclear-free world and accusations over alleged nuclear weapons development elsewhere. The nuclear bombings were one way that the U.S. has “presented work” overseas. And this, I think, is helpful to me in understanding Saburo Teshigawara’s Miroku.
There is a part in Miroku where Teshigawara stands motionless with his back against the wall, while a zoetrope pattern of lights moves around him and the perimeter of the stage. This is a moment of clarity as we recognize Teshigawara’s distinction between true motion and the illusion of it. And recognizing that Teshigawara created all aspects of this piece helps me understand a further distinction, that sometimes a rapid succession of motion can hide the true illusion, the motive, behind that motion. Despite no words spoken, or perhaps because of it, Miroku seemed to me an act of psychological diplomacy. And what a gift it is when beautiful work is presented.
There are only two nights left to buy tickets.
For audience members who’d like to dig deeper, local choreographer/performer Justin Jones interviewed Performing Arts Curator Philip Bither about Saburo Teshigawara’s Miroku: click here to listen to these podcasts, which are part of Justin’s Talk Dance Series.